On Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM, Brandon Harris <bhar...@wikimedia.org>

> Erik is acting as an officer, not as an individual.

Brandon, it is not as clear-cut as you suggest, and the lack of clarity
originates at the Wikimedia Foundation.

The most explicit statement I've seen on this topic is then-Executive
Director Sue Gardner, in April 2014:

"When WMF staff edit the projects, they (we) are subject to the same policies
and guidelines as everybody else. That means that if a staff person breaks
a rule on the projects, that person risks being warned or reverted or
sanctioned by the community, the same as everybody. There are no special
WMF policies related to this. ... Editorial policies are developed, and
therefore also best-understood and best-enforced, not by the WMF but by the


A decision about how the public consumes Wikipedia content (e.g., Media
Viewer) is an editorial decision, and it's one that the WMF has chosen to
make unilaterally. WMF has furthermore moved to give its staff rights that
facilitate unilateral behavior in the future. But to the degree that Sue
Gardner's policy remains in place (and I'm assuming it does), the WMF's
position is that any problematic actions taken by individual staff should
be subject to community processes.

As I explained in the email thread linked above, I do think this is the
wrong policy, and very unsuited to the way Wikimedia works or should work.
But it is the policy, nonetheless. Individual WMF staff have crossed
important lines, fundamentally challenging our decision-making structure
without seeking, much less securing, important buy-in. The WMF will
ultimately be accountable for the consequences; but in the meantime, the
individuals involved in the decision must be treated as responsible for
their actions, specifically because that is what the Office of the
Executive Director has stated as its expectation.

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